Frog of the Week

Spotted Poison Frog (Ranitomeya vanzolinii)

Spotted Poison Frog
photo by John P Clare

Common Name: Spotted Poison Frog and Brazilian Poison Frog
Scientific Name: Ranitomeya vanzolinii
Family: Dendrobatidae – Poison Dart Frog family
Locations: Brazil and Peru
Size: 0.65 – 0.74 inches (16.7 – 19 mm)

The Spotted Poison Frog is an arboreal poison dart frog, primarily living at least 6 feet (2 meters) off the ground. Juvenile frogs on the species can be found in the leaf litter.

The frogs mate in tree holes that are partially filled with water. If more than one egg is laid, male waits for the eggs to hatch and then carries each tadpole to its own tree cavity. Then, the male guides the female to each cavity where she lays unfertilized eggs for the tadpole to each.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Spotted Poison Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population.

The species is named after Paulo Vanzolini, a Brazilian herpetologist and music composer, specially sambas.

Frog of the Week

Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne mazatlanensis)

Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad
photo by Jim Rorabaugh

Common Name: Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad or Sinaloan Narrow-mouthed Toad
Scientific Name: Gastrophryne mazatlanensis
Family: Microhylidae
Locations: Mexico and the United States – Arizona
Size: 1.6 inches (4 cm)

The Mazatlan Narrow Mouthed Toad was originally thought to be its own species before researchers merged it into the Great Plains Narrowed Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea). It sat as a subspecies for over 50 years before researchers decided to elevated back to its own species. Not much is known to be different in its life history than the Great Plains Narrowed Mouth Toad and it seems no one has really tried to study it. They spend most of their life underground which also doesn’t help with knowing what they are doing. However, the toads come to the surface to breed. They breed following the heavy spring and summer rains.

The International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has not assessed the conservation status of the toad.

Frog of the Week

Veragua Stubfoot Toad (Atelopus cruciger)

Veragua Stubfoot Toad
photo by Indiana Cristo

Common English Name: Veragua Stubfoot Toad and Rancho Grande Harlequin Frog
Local Name: Sapito Rayado
Scientific Name: Atelopus cruciger
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Venezuela
Male Size: 1.1 – 1.3 inches (28.2–34.6 mm)
Female Size: 1.5 – 2 inches (39.5–49.9 mm)

The toads mate during the dry season, where they can be found on rocks and vegetation near fast moving streams. The males call out for the females and when the females arrive, the male grabs her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female carries the male over to the stream. Amplexus can last up to 19 days for the species. Next, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 150 – 270 eggs in several clutches. The eggs hatch into tadpoles that use their abdominal suckers to attach to rocks in the fast moving stream.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Veragua Stubfoot Toad as Critically Endangered. The toads have disappeared from nearly all of its range. The culprit is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen. Luckily, a few populations of the toad remain in some national parks and are surviving against the disease.

Frog of the Week

Natal Ghost Frog (Hadromophryne natalensis)

Natal Ghost Frog
photo by Luke Verburgt

Common Name: Natal Ghost Frog
Scientific Name: Hadromophryne natalensis
Family: Heleophrynidae – Ghost Frog family
Locations: Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland
Male Size: 1.77 inches (45 mm)
Female Size: 2.4 inches (63 mm)

The Natal Ghost Frog breeds in late summer (March to May). The males call out from around the streams. Once the female arrives, the male grasps the female from behind in the water in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays between 50 – 200 eggs and attaches them to the underside of rocks in the stream. The tadpoles take 2 years to complete their metamorphosis.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Natal Ghost Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide range and a presumed large population.

Frog of the Week

San Jose Cochran Frog (Cochranella euknemos)

San Jose Cochran Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke

Common Name: San Jose Cochran Frog
Scientific Name: Cochranella euknemos
Family: Centrolenidae – Glass Frog family
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama
Female Size: 1.0 – 1.25 inches (25 – 32 mm)
Male Size: 0.8 – 1.0 inches (21 – 25 mm)

The San Jose Cochran Frog lives on trees and other vegetation near streams in lowland, premontane, and montane forests. Their translucent skin helps them hide on leaves during the day. The frogs breed during the rainy season. The males call from branches over hanging streams.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red List assesses the San Jose Cochran Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog is common in Colombia but rare in Costa Rica and Panama. The major threat to the species is deforestation.

Frog of the Week

Fiji Tree Frog (Cornufer vitiensis)

Fiji Tree Frog
Fiji tree frog by Tamara.osborne

Common Name: Fiji Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Cornufer vitiensis
Family: Ceratobatracidae
Locations: Fiji – Islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau, and possibly Taveuni
Male Size: 1.25 – 1.7 inches (32 – 45 mm)
Female Size: 1.8 – 2.3 inches (47 – 60 mm)

The Fiji Tree Frog is one of the two native frogs to the islands of Fiji with the other being the Fiji Ground Frog (Cornufer vitianus). As you can tell by their names, the Fiji Tree Frog lives in trees and other vegetation, often near streams.

The frog breeds all year round but is most active breeding from December to March. The Fiji Frog is one of the few species where both the male and the female call for males. Amplexus for the species is inguinal, where the male grabs the female by her things. Twenty to forty eggs are laid in leaf axils, where they will hatch directly into tiny frogs, skipping a free larval tadpole phase.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Fiji Tree Frog as Near Threatened with Extinction. Habitat loss is the number one issue for the frog. The forests that they live in are being cut down for lumber and to make room for more farms and urban areas.

Frog of the Week

Arizona Tree Frog (Hyla wrightorum)

Arizona Tree Frog
photo by the USDA

Common Name: Arizona Tree Frog, Wright’s Mountain Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla (Dryophytes) wrightorum
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona and New Mexico
Size: 1 – 2 inches (25 – 51 mm)

The Arizona Tree Frog is the state amphibian of Arizona. The males of the species have tan-green throats.

The Arizona Tree Frog starts to breed at the start of the summer monsoon season. Breeding season for the frogs only last a couple days. The males will call from the top of trees at the start and move down to slow moving bodies of water. Eventually, the females will show up and the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, she will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. Afterwards, both parents leave the water and neither provide any care for the offspring.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list classifies the Arizona Tree Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frogs have a wide range and a presumed large population.

Frog of the Week

Rusty Robber Frog (Strabomantis bufoniformis)

Rusty Robber Frog
photo by Brian Gratwicke;
Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Rusty Robber Frog
Scientific Name: Strabomantis bufoniformis
Family: Strabomantidae
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama
Size: 2 – 3.7 inches (50 – 94 mm)

The Rusty Robber Frog lives along the streams in lowland and moist forests. They are primarily nocturnal, spending its nights catching insects near the stream. While the frog may live near the stream, they don’t reproduce in them. The female frog lays her eggs in the sand. The frogs are a direct developing species, skipping a free living larval phase (aka no tadpoles).

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Rusty Robber Frog as Endangered. The two main problems for the frog are Chytrid Fungus and habitat destruction. The frog is probably extinct in Costa Rica now since it hasn’t been seen there since 1978.

Frog of the Week

Argus Reed Frog (Hyperolius argus)

Argus Reed Frog
Female Argus Reed Frogs – photo by Alfeus Liman

Common Name: Argus Reed Frog, Argus Sedge Frog, or Argus-eyed Frog
Scientific Name: Hyperolius argus
Family: Hyperoliidae – Reed and Sedge Frog Family
Locations: Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania
Size: 1 – 1.3 inches  (27-34 mm)

The Argus Reed Frog is found along the eastern coastal lowlands of Africa in grasslands, shrublands and savannas. They are always close to a water body. The frogs are sexually dimorphic. The colors of the male frog tend to be green or yellow in color with two stripes running down the back while females are brown in color but with large spots on their back. Though in southern range of the species, the males are brown in color.

Mating takes place in the shallows of water. The female frog can lay up around 200 eggs in clutches of 30.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessed the Argus Reed Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The frog has a wide range and a presumed large population.

Frog of the Week

Annam Horned Toad (Brachytarsophrys intermedia)

Annam Horned Toad (Brachytarsophrys intermedia)
photo by В естественной среде

Common Name: Annam Horned Toad, Annam Short-legged Toad, and Annam Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Brachytarsophrys intermedia
Family: Megophryidae – Leaf Litter Frogs
Locations: Laos, Vietnam, and probably Cambodia
Size: 4.6 – 5.5 inches (11.8 – 13.9 cm)

The Annam Horned Toad lives in evergreen forests near stream side boulders. The toad was previous a member of the genus Megophrys.

In Laos, breeding has been observed in July in streams. The males call out from half way submerged rocks. After breeding, the male protect the clutches of eggs.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Annam Horned Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The species has a wide range however, their range is threatened with the rapid increase in agricultural development in the area.